A Dominican Republic immigrant’s effort to help school safety never had a prayer.
Not once an atheist group based in Wisconsin got wind of the activity half a continent away.
The principal of Concord High School in Concord, N.H., has ordered Lizarda Urena, who has two children attending the school, to stop a morning prayer ritual she performed during school days — praying aloud and quoting biblical verses on the school’s steps — to ask God to keep students safe on campus.
The appeal to the Almighty turned out to be an affront to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based group that turns puritanism on its head. It’s apparently consumed by the haunting feat that someone, somewhere, might be having faith.
According to the Concord Monitor, Lizarda Urena has every prayed as students entered the school every morning since February, when two bullets were found in a school restroom. When the Monitor first wrote about Urena, the school’s principal said there had been no complaints.
That changed when the story ran, though, and a Concord resident contacted the Freedom from Religion folks.
The alarmed foundation then contacted school Superintendent Chris Rath, and a dialogue ensued that ended with Urena being told to take her religion business elsewhere.
“In allowing Ms. Urena to pray aloud daily . . . the Concord School District is placing its ‘stamp of approval’ on the religious messages contained in her prayers,” it said.
According to the Monitor, Concord religious leaders were divided on this issue.
One local pastor, for instance, said the Gospels quote Jesus as saying prayer is a private matter so he doesn’t encourage his own congregation to do so publicly. But that doesn’t mean he thought Urena should have been forced to stop.
“Who is being hurt by a mom praying on the school step?” David Pinckney of River of Grace Church asked the Monitor. “Who?”
Apparently an atheist group that’s 1,000 miles away.
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